What Security? — Jason Michael Perry

Every year all Mindgrub employees are required to complete our annual security training. This year we switched it up and moved to the well-received KnowBe4 training curriculum.

Watching and completing the ~45 min eLearning session seemed a bit surreal this holiday season. After all, LastPass completely failed, a house representative-elect lied about everything, and Anker was caught lying about its local-only cameras actually connecting to the cloud. All this without mentioning the many issues still circulating FTX being hacked and its founder running a billion-dollar company with little to know processes in place.

It really makes you stop and realize how hard it increasingly is to keep yourself safe. It’s one thing when we know we need to protect ourselves from those we might label as unsavory, but it becomes much more difficult to protect ourselves from the entities that we expect to protect us.

When I arrived at Mindgrub we made heavy use of LastPass. While we liked the tool, we found it lacked certain enterprise features we wanted and migrated to a different enterprise password manager. That tool is the password manager that, combined with our security processes, helps us limit access to only those who need it while also preventing team members from sharing passwords as text in tools like Slack or email.

Having a tool like LastPass hacked to a point that so many are at the mercy of a master password that now is a gatekeeper that hopefully can survive brute force attacks is a pill that is difficult to swallow. LastPass’s customers did everything right and trusted a company whose charter is securing your data better than your own.

The thing is, LastPass is just the most recent of these types of companies to let us down. Y’all remember Equifax, YouTube, Facebook, Marriott, Verizon, …? What is crazy is this is the list we know, and having spent decades working with security specialists, I can absolutely promise you that a very small percentage of companies ever publicly report most security incidents.

What we are facing is the reality that security is a team sport, and heck, maybe a village or country-wide sport. You or I can do everything correctly, however, as has been the case our entire lives, we all have dependencies on people, products, businesses, or governments, and we are all susceptible to the weakest link in this list. Just one chink in our combined armor, and the impacts are tremendous.

So consider this a reminder for all of us to keep being serious about the importance of security in our lives. Be diligent and make sure that we hold our IT and development teams to the security standards we expect of ourselves. Are you a developer? Find a security framework and make sure you and your team follow it.